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AWS Certifications in 2024: Levels, Costs & How to Pass

Explore our full guide on AWS Certifications, including which one is best for you and how to pass the exams. Plus discover DataCamp resources to help!
Feb 2024  · 20 min read

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cornerstone in the world of cloud computing, empowering a wide range of applications from burgeoning startups to established global enterprises. As the demand for cloud expertise continues to grow, securing an AWS certification can help individuals stand out in the competitive job market.

This article is a comprehensive guide to AWS certifications, detailing their importance, the various certification paths available, how to best prepare for AWS certifications, and more. Whether you're just embarking on your cloud journey or seeking to elevate your skills to the next level, this guide offers essential insights into navigating the AWS certification process.

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What are AWS Certifications?

AWS Certifications are offered by Amazon Web Services to validate an individual's expertise in cloud architecture, engineering, and administration using AWS services. These certifications are designed to recognize professionals who demonstrate the knowledge and skills to design, deploy, and manage applications and infrastructure on AWS.

Earning an AWS certification can be incredibly beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it provides industry-recognized validation of your cloud skills, which can enhance your credibility and increase your value in the job market.

Secondly, it helps ensure that teams working on AWS projects have the necessary skills to deploy secure, reliable, and efficient cloud solutions.

Finally, preparing for AWS certifications encourages a deep and comprehensive understanding of AWS services and best practices, which can be applied to a wide range of real-world scenarios.

A Representation of AWS Certification

A Representation of AWS Certification - Created With DALL-E 3

Components of an AWS Certification

Achieving an AWS Certification involves a series of steps designed to ensure that candidates are thoroughly prepared and evaluated on their understanding and application of AWS technologies. These steps are crafted to guide you through the learning process, assess your knowledge, and validate your expertise in cloud computing with AWS. For a detailed overview, AWS provides comprehensive information on its certification website.

Step 1: Review the most common questions about the certifications

Before diving into the certification process, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding AWS Certifications.

This preliminary step helps clarify the certification paths, the scope of each exam, eligibility criteria, and preparation resources. Understanding these aspects will provide a solid foundation for your certification journey.

Step 2: Get ready for the exam

Preparation is key to success in AWS Certifications. This step involves in-depth study and hands-on practice with AWS services. AWS offers various resources, including digital and classroom training, whitepapers, FAQs, and user guides, tailored to different certification exams. To complement these resources, online learning platforms like DataCamp can really help you take your AWS skills to the next level.

Step 3: Sign up for the exam

Once you feel confident in your preparation, the next step is to register for the exam. AWS Certification exams can be scheduled through an AWS Certification account, where you can choose a date and time that suits your schedule.

These accounts can be either based on your individual credentials, through your organization SSO, or an AWS Partner Network account.

Exams are administered at testing centers worldwide or through online proctoring, offering flexibility to candidates.

Step 4: Get your results

After completing the exam, you'll receive your results, typically within a few days. Passing an AWS Certification exam is a significant achievement that recognizes your expertise in cloud computing with AWS. It's a testament to your dedication and proficiency in using AWS services to design, deploy, and manage applications and infrastructure.

Is an AWS Certification Worth It In 2024?

AWS Certifications continue to be highly regarded in the tech industry. With the ongoing shift towards cloud-based solutions, the value of these certifications is more pronounced than ever, both for professionals seeking to advance their careers and for organizations striving for technological innovation.

Cloud computing skills are on the rise

The demand for cloud computing expertise is surging, driven by businesses across all sectors adopting cloud services for enhanced scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency.

In 2022, Gartner forecasted that worldwide public cloud end-user spending would reach nearly $600 billion in 2023, increasing to nearly $725 billion in 2024.

An AWS Certification validates your ability to design, deploy, and manage applications on AWS, positioning you as a key player in this cloud-centric era. This certification not only opens up new career avenues but also ensures your skills remain relevant in a market that's increasingly dependent on cloud technologies.

It's valuable for employers

Employers highly value AWS Certifications as they seek to navigate their cloud journeys successfully. Certified professionals bring proven expertise to the table, reducing the time and resources spent on training and ramp-up.

For organizations, having AWS-certified individuals on board means projects can be executed more efficiently and effectively, leveraging the full spectrum of AWS services and best practices. This makes certified individuals attractive candidates, often associated with leadership roles in cloud projects and initiatives.

It helps diversify your skills

Beyond validating your cloud expertise, an AWS Certification encourages a holistic understanding of the cloud ecosystem. It prompts professionals to explore various aspects of AWS, from foundational services to advanced solutions, thus broadening their skill set.

This diversification not only enhances your professional profile but also equips you with a versatile toolkit to tackle a wide range of technical challenges, making you an invaluable asset to any tech team.

What Jobs Can You Get with an AWS Certification?

Earning an AWS Certification opens the door to a wide array of job opportunities in the tech industry, catering to various interests and expertise levels.

With organizations across the globe increasingly relying on AWS for their cloud computing needs, the demand for AWS-certified professionals is at an all-time high.

Here are some of the common roles that individuals with AWS Certifications can pursue:

Cloud Architect

  • What they do: Design and implement scalable, secure, and efficient cloud solutions tailored to business needs.
  • Expected AWS services to use: AWS Management Console, AWS CloudFormation, Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon VPC.
  • Expected salary: $139K - $225K according to Glassdoor.

Cloud Architect Salary in the US

Cloud Architect Salary in the US - Source

DevOps Engineer

  • What they do: Automate and streamline the software development process using AWS services for faster and more reliable application deployments.
  • Expected AWS services to use: AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy, AWS CodePipeline, Amazon ECS, AWS Lambda.
  • Expected salary: $103K - $149K according to Glassdoor.

Cloud Developer

  • What they do: Develop and maintain scalable and efficient applications hosted on the AWS platform, ensuring high availability and security.
  • Expected AWS services to use: AWS SDKs, Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Amplify, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon API Gateway.
  • Expected salary: $91K - $130K according to Glassdoor.

SysOps Administrator

  • What they do: Manage and monitor AWS environments, ensuring optimal performance, security, and reliability of the infrastructure.
  • Expected AWS services to use: Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, AWS Systems Manager, Amazon RDS.
  • Expected salary: $51K - $85K according to Glassdoor.

Data Engineer

  • What they do: Design, construct, install, test, and maintain highly scalable data management systems on AWS.
  • Expected AWS services to use: Amazon Redshift, AWS Glue, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon EMR, AWS Data Pipeline.
  • Expected salary: $104K - $153K according to Glassdoor.

Security Specialist

  • What they do: Implement and manage security protocols and measures within the AWS ecosystem to protect data and infrastructure.
  • Expected AWS services to use: AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Amazon Cognito, AWS Key Management Service (KMS), AWS Shield, and Amazon Inspector.
  • Expected salary: $54K - $89K according to Glassdoor.

AWS Certifications vs. AWS Certificates

Navigating the world of AWS learning credentials, it's crucial to understand the distinction between AWS Certifications and AWS Certificates. Both serve as markers of educational achievement but cater to different professional needs and recognition levels.

AWS Certifications

  • Definition: AWS Certifications are formal recognitions provided by Amazon Web Services to validate an individual's expertise in specific cloud roles and technical areas.
  • Purpose: To establish and validate the holder's proficiency in AWS cloud technologies and best practices, facilitating career advancement in cloud computing.
  • Issued by: Amazon Web Services (AWS) directly.
  • Validity: Most AWS Certifications are valid for three years, after which the individual must recertify to maintain their certified status.

AWS Certificates

  • Definition: AWS Certificates are acknowledgments awarded upon the completion of certain AWS training courses or learning paths, indicating participation rather than an assessment-based achievement.
  • Purpose: To document the completion of training and provide evidence of continuing education in AWS technologies, though not a formal measure of expertise.
  • Issued by: Issued upon completion of AWS training courses, which AWS or external learning providers may provide.
  • Validity: AWS Certificates do not typically expire but represent the completion of training at a point in time without requiring renewal.

AWS Certifications vs AWS Certificates: A Comparison

Criteria

AWS Certifications

AWS Certificates

Definition

Formal recognition of expertise in cloud roles and technical areas.

Acknowledgments awarded upon completion of AWS training courses or learning paths, indicating participation.

Purpose

Validate proficiency and facilitate career advancement in cloud computing.

Document the completion of training and provide evidence of continuing education in AWS technologies.

Issued By

Amazon Web Services directly.

Issued upon completion of AWS training courses, provided by AWS or external learning providers.

Validity

Valid for three years, requiring recertification.

Do not typically expire but represent the completion of training at a specific point in time.

A List of All the AWS Certifications

AWS offers a wide array of certifications to validate expertise in cloud computing across various roles and specialties. These certifications are structured across different levels, including Foundational, Associate, Professional, and Specialty, catering to diverse professional needs and career paths in cloud technology.

Below is a breakdown of all the AWS Certifications, summarizing all that you need to know about them.

Foundational AWS Certifications

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner badge

Source

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

  • What is it: A foundational certification recognizing knowledge of AWS Cloud's fundamental aspects.
  • Skills tested: Covers essential cloud concepts, AWS core services, security and compliance aspects, and understanding of billing and pricing models.
  • Prerequisites: Familiarity with the AWS platform is recommended but not required.
  • Who is it for: Suitable for a wide range of professionals, from technical to managerial roles, looking to validate their AWS Cloud knowledge.
  • Cost: $100 USD.
  • Exam format: Consists of 65 questions, which can be either multiple-choice or multiple-response, to be completed in 90 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

Associate AWS Certifications

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate badge

Source

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator

  • What is it: This credential demonstrates advanced expertise in architecting complex solutions on AWS, optimizing security, cost, and performance, and automating manual processes.
  • Skills tested: Deploying, managing, and operating workloads on AWS and security control & compliance knowledge.
  • Prerequisites: Experience in AWS and knowledge of IT best practices and cloud computing
  • Who is it for: Experienced IT professionals working in administrator roles with strong on-premise IT experience and understanding of mapping on-premises to cloud.
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 130 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified Developer - Associate badge

Source

AWS Certified Developer

  • What is it: Demonstrates familiarity with fundamental AWS services, functionalities, and basic architectural principles, as well as competency in creating, deploying, and troubleshooting cloud-based applications using AWS.
  • Skills tested: Developing, deploying, and debugging cloud-based applications by using AWS.
  • Prerequisites: Experience working in a developer role leveraging AWS services & technology.
  • Who is it for: Anyone working in a developer role working on cloud services & technology.
  • Cost: $150 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 130 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate badge

Source

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

  • What is it: Demonstrates proficiency in a broad spectrum of AWS technologies, emphasizing the design of solutions optimized for cost and performance. It underscores expertise in applying the AWS Well-Architected Framework to solution design.
  • Skills tested: The ability to design solutions that maximize cost efficiency and performance across various AWS services. Understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework in solution design.
  • Prerequisites: Knowledge of AWS services and cloud technologies.
  • Who is it for: Anyone experienced with AWS technology or working with other cloud services.
  • Cost: $150 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 130 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified Data Engineer - Associate badge

Source

AWS Certified Data Engineer

  • What is it: Validates expertise in key AWS data services and the ability to implement data pipelines, resolve issues, and optimize performance cost-effectively.
  • Skills tested: Tests proficiency in core AWS data services and the implementation of data pipelines. Evaluates troubleshooting abilities and optimization skills aligned with best practices.
  • Prerequisites: Equivalent of 2-3 years in data engineering or data architecture and a minimum of 1-2 years of hands-on experience with AWS services.
  • Who is it for: Designed for individuals interested in leveraging AWS for data transformation and analysis.
  • Cost: $150 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 130 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

Professional AWS Certifications

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional badge

Source

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

  • What is it: This credential demonstrates advanced expertise in architecting complex solutions on AWS, optimizing security, cost, and performance, and automating manual processes.
  • Skills tested: In-depth knowledge of AWS services, architectural best practices, and designing complex solutions.
  • Prerequisites: Two or more years of hands-on experience designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS.
  • Who is it for: Experienced cloud professionals seeking to validate their AWS architecture skills.
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 75 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 180 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional badge

Source

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer

  • What is it: This credential demonstrates expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform.
  • Skills tested: In-depth knowledge of AWS services, architectural best practices, and designing complex solutions.
  • Prerequisites: Two or more years of hands-on experience provisioning, operating, and managing AWS environments.
  • Who is it for: Experienced developers managing AWS environments.
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 75 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 180 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

Specialty AWS Certifications

AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty badge

Source

AWS Certified Advanced Networking

  • What is it: Validates expertise in designing and maintaining network architecture for various AWS services, helping organizations identify and nurture talent essential for implementing cloud initiatives.
  • Skills tested: Tests individuals proficient in complex networking tasks with at least five years of hands-on experience in architecting and implementing network solutions, covering advanced networking architectures, interconnectivity options, AWS technology, security best practices, storage options, and networking nuances related to the integration of AWS services.
  • Prerequisites: Deep knowledge of AWS services & technology, security best practices, networking architectures, and more.
  • Who is it for: Intended for individuals performing complex networking tasks with a minimum of five years of hands-on experience in architecting and implementing network solutions.
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 170 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified Database - Specialty badge

Source

AWS Certified Database

Note that this certification will be deprecated on April 29th, 2024

  • What is it: This credential confirms comprehensive knowledge of AWS database services and the capability to recommend, design, and maintain optimal database solutions.
  • Skills tested: Ability to comprehend and differentiate the key features of AWS database services, analyze needs and requirements, and devise suitable database solutions
  • Prerequisites: Five years of experience with common database technologies, two years of hands-on experience with on-premises and AWS Cloud-based databases, and a solid understanding of the key features of AWS database services.
  • Who is it for: Individuals proficient in working with on-premises and AWS Cloud-based relational and non-relational databases, including data platform engineers, database administrators, and solutions architects
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 180 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified: SAP on AWS Specialty badge

Source

AWS Certified: SAP on AWS

Note that this certification will be deprecated on April 29th, 2024

  • What is it: Validates expertise in designing, implementing, migrating, and operating SAP workloads on AWS. It enables individuals to deliver robust, cost-effective solutions for architecting, migrating, and managing SAP workloads on AWS.
  • Skills tested: Ability to design an SAP solution that operates in the AWS Cloud while adhering to the AWS Well-Architected Framework. It also assesses their proficiency in defining SAP-certified solutions on AWS, selecting the optimal instance family for SAP workloads, determining instance sizing based on SAP Application Performance Standard (SAPS) performance measurements, and more.
  • Prerequisites: Five or more years of SAP experience, at least one year of experience working with SAP on AWS, and the ability to design an SAP solution in the AWS Cloud in accordance with best practices and SAP certification and support requirements.
  • Who is it for: Individuals in roles requiring experience with both SAP and AWS, including data platform engineers, database administrators, and solutions architects.
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 170 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified Machine Learning - Specialty badge

Source

AWS Certified Machine Learning

  • What is it: Validates expertise in building, training, tuning, and deploying machine learning (ML) models on AWS.
  • Skills tested: Ability to express the intuition behind basic ML algorithms, perform basic hyperparameter optimization, and work with machine learning and deep learning frameworks.
  • Prerequisites: At least two years of hands-on experience developing, architecting, and running ML or deep learning workloads in the AWS Cloud.
  • Who is it for: Individuals who perform a development or data science role and have more than one year of experience developing, architecting, or running machine learning/deep learning workloads in the AWS Cloud.
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 180 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified Security - Specialty badge

Source

AWS Certified Security

  • What is it: Validates expertise in creating and implementing security solutions in the AWS Cloud.
  • Skills tested: Ability to understand specialized data classifications, AWS data protection mechanisms, data encryption methods, and secure internet protocols.
  • Prerequisites: Five or more years of IT security experience in designing and implementing security solutions and two or more years of hands-on experience in securing AWS workloads.
  • Who is it for: Experienced individuals in roles across cloud architecture, database, networking, and DevSecOps
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 170 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

AWS Certified Data Analytics - Specialty badge

Source

AWS Certified Data Analytics

Note that this certification will be deprecated on April 29th, 2024

  • What is it: Validates expertise in using AWS data lakes and analytics services to get insights from data
  • Skills tested: Ability to design, build, secure, and maintain analytics solutions using AWS services.
  • Prerequisites: Five or more years with analytics technologies, two years of experience working with AWS services building analytics solutions, and more, knowledge of the AWS ecosystem for data workflows, and more. Who is it for: Individuals in roles requiring experience building and maintaining analytics solutions using AWS.
  • Cost: $300 USD.
  • Exam format: 65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 170 minutes.
  • Validity: Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.
  • Where to get started: Official certification landing page

All the AWS Certifications Compared

Certification

Level

What is it

Skills tested

Prerequisites

Who is it for

Cost

Exam format

Validity

Foundational AWS Certifications

Foundational

A foundational certification recognizing knowledge of AWS Cloud's fundamental aspects.

Covers essential cloud concepts, AWS core services, security and compliance aspects, and understanding of billing and pricing models.

Familiarity with the AWS platform is recommended but not required.

Suitable for a wide range of professionals, from technical to managerial roles, looking to validate their AWS Cloud knowledge.

$100 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, 90 minutes

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator

Associate

This credential demonstrates advanced expertise in architecting complex solutions on AWS, optimizing security, cost, and performance, and automating manual processes.

Deploying, managing, and operating workloads on AWS and security control & compliance knowledge.

Experience in AWS and knowledge of IT best practices and cloud computing

Experienced IT professionals working in administrator roles, with strong on-premise IT experience and understanding of mapping on-premises to cloud.

$300 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, 130 minutes

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed

AWS Certified Developer

Associate

Demonstrates familiarity with fundamental AWS services, functionalities, and basic architectural principles, as well as competency in creating, deploying, and troubleshooting cloud-based applications using AWS.

Developing, deploying, and debugging cloud-based applications by using AWS.

Experience working in a developer role leveraging AWS services & technology.

Anyone working in a developer role working on cloud services & technology.

$150 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, 130 minutes

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Associate

Demonstrates proficiency in a broad spectrum of AWS technologies, emphasizing the design of solutions optimized for cost and performance. It underscores expertise in applying the AWS Well-Architected Framework to solution design.

The ability to design solutions that maximize cost efficiency and performance across various AWS services. Understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework in solution design.

Knowledge of AWS services and cloud technologies.

Anyone experiWriteenced with AWS technology or working with other cloud services.

$150 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, 130 minutes

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed

AWS Certified Data Engineer

Associate

Validates expertise in key AWS data services and the ability to implement data pipelines, resolve issues, and optimize performance cost-effectively.

Tests proficiency in core AWS data services and the implementation of data pipelines. Evaluates troubleshooting abilities and optimization skills aligned with best practices.

Equivalent of 2-3 years in data engineering or data architecture and a minimum of 1-2 years of hands-on experience with AWS services.

Designed for individuals interested in leveraging AWS for data transformation and analysis.

$150 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, 130 minutes

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Professional

This credential demonstrates advanced expertise in architecting complex solutions on AWS, optimizing security, cost, and performance, and automating manual processes.

In-depth knowledge of AWS services, architectural best practices, and designing complex solutions.

Two or more years of hands-on experience designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS.

Experienced cloud professionals seeking to validate their AWS architecture skills.

$300 USD

75 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, 180 minutes

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer

Professional

This credential demonstrates expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform.

In-depth knowledge of AWS services, architectural best practices, and designing complex solutions.

Two or more years of hands-on experience provisioning, operating, and managing AWS environments.

Experienced developers managing AWS environments.

$300 USD

75 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, 180 minutes

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed

AWS Certified Advanced Networking

Specialty

Validates expertise in designing and maintaining network architecture for various AWS services, helping organizations identify and nurture talent essential for implementing cloud initiatives.

Tests individuals proficient in complex networking tasks with at least five years of hands-on experience in architecting and implementing network solutions, covering advanced networking architectures, interconnectivity options, AWS technology, security best practices, storage options, and networking nuances related to the integration of AWS services.

Deep knowledge of AWS services & technology, security best practices, networking architectures, and more.

Intended for individuals performing complex networking tasks with a minimum of five years of hands-on experience in architecting and implementing network solutions.

$300 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 170 minutes.

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.

AWS Certified Database

Specialty

Confirms comprehensive knowledge of AWS database services and the capability to recommend, design, and maintain optimal database solutions.

Ability to comprehend and differentiate the key features of AWS database services, analyze needs and requirements, and devise suitable database solutions.

Five years of experience with common database technologies, two years of hands-on experience with on-premises and AWS Cloud-based databases, and a solid understanding of the key features of AWS database services.

Individuals proficient in working with on-premises and AWS Cloud-based relational and non-relational databases, including data platform engineers, database administrators, and solutions architects.

$300 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 180 minutes.

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.

AWS Certified: SAP on AWS

Specialty

Validates expertise in designing, implementing, migrating, and operating SAP workloads on AWS. It enables individuals to deliver robust, cost-effective solutions for architecting, migrating, and managing SAP workloads on AWS.

Ability to design an SAP solution that operates in the AWS Cloud while adhering to the AWS Well-Architected Framework. It also assesses their proficiency in defining SAP-certified solutions on AWS, selecting the optimal instance family for SAP workloads, determining instance sizing based on SAP Application Performance Standard (SAPS) performance measurements, and more.

Five or more years of SAP experience, at least one year of experience working with SAP on AWS, and the ability to design an SAP solution in the AWS Cloud in accordance with best practices and SAP certification and support requirements.

Individuals in roles requiring experience with both SAP and AWS, including data platform engineers, database administrators, and solutions architects.

$300 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 170 minutes.

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.

AWS Certified Machine Learning

Specialty

Validates expertise in building, training, tuning, and deploying machine learning (ML) models on AWS.

Ability to express the intuition behind basic ML algorithms, perform basic hyperparameter optimization, and work with machine learning and deep learning frameworks.

At least two years of hands-on experience developing, architecting, and running ML or deep learning workloads in the AWS Cloud.

Individuals who perform a development or data science role and have more than one year of experience developing, architecting, or running machine learning/deep learning workloads in the AWS Cloud.

$300 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 180 minutes.

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.

AWS Certified Security

Specialty

Validates expertise in creating and implementing security solutions in the AWS Cloud.

Ability to understand specialized data classifications, AWS data protection mechanisms, data encryption methods, and secure internet protocols.

Five or more years of IT security experience in designing and implementing security solutions and two or more years of hands-on experience in securing AWS workloads.

Experienced individuals in roles across cloud architecture, database, networking, and DevSecOps.

$300 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 170 minutes.

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.

AWS Certified Data Analytics

Specialty

Validates expertise in using AWS data lakes and analytics services to get insights from data.

Ability to design, build, secure, and maintain analytics solutions using AWS services.

Five or more years with analytics technologies, two years of experience working with AWS services building analytics solutions, and more, knowledge of the AWS ecosystem for data workflows, and more.

Individuals in roles requiring experience building and maintaining analytics solutions using AWS.

$300 USD

65 questions, multiple-choice or multiple-response, over 170 minutes.

Valid for three years, after which recertification is needed.

How to Choose an AWS Certification

Before diving into the process of choosing an AWS certification, it's crucial to pause and reflect on how each certification aligns with your career goals and aspirations.

Alignment with career goals

When embarking on the journey of obtaining an AWS certification, it's essential to align your choice with your career goals. Take the time to reflect on where you want to be in your career and how AWS certifications can help you get there.

For instance, if you aspire to become a cloud architect, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification would be a fitting choice. If your interest lies more in data analytics, then the AWS Certified Big Data - Specialty certification might be the right path for you.

Difficulty level

Consider the difficulty level of the certification you're aiming for. While some certifications serve as entry points into the world of AWS, others require more extensive experience and knowledge.

Assess your current skill level and choose a certification that challenges you just enough to grow but doesn't overwhelm you.

Starting with foundational certifications like AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner can provide a solid groundwork before moving on to more advanced certifications like AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional.

Cost and Investment

Another crucial factor to consider is the cost and investment required to obtain the certification. AWS certification exams come with associated fees, and preparation materials such as courses and practice exams may also incur additional costs.

Evaluate your budget and determine how much you're willing to invest in your certification journey.

Keep in mind that the benefits of becoming AWS certified often outweigh the initial financial investment, as it can lead to better career opportunities and higher earning potential.

How to Pass the AWS Certifications

Before diving into preparation, it's essential to have a clear understanding of which AWS certification you want to pursue. As a reminder, check out the different AWS certifications compared in the table above.

Understand all the logistics involved

Familiarize yourself with the logistics of the certification process, including exam format, duration, and prerequisites. Review the official AWS certification website for detailed information about the exam structure and requirements.

Additionally, ensure that you meet any prerequisites for the certification you're pursuing, such as prior experience or completing specific training courses.

Prepare and study in advance

Preparation is key to success when it comes to AWS certifications. Start studying well in advance of your exam date to allow ample time to cover all the necessary topics thoroughly.

Utilize a variety of study materials, including official AWS documentation, online courses (such as our Streaming Data with AWS Kinesis and Lambda Course), practice exams, and hands-on labs. Develop a study schedule that fits your lifestyle and commit to consistent, focused study sessions.

Use DataCamp resources to get you AWS certified

DataCamp offers comprehensive resources to help you prepare for AWS certifications. Explore their catalog of courses covering various AWS topics, from cloud fundamentals to specialized domains like machine learning and data analytics.

Our AWS, Azure and GCP Service Comparison for Data Science & AI Cheat Sheet is a handy reference guide.

Enroll in relevant courses to supplement your study plan and gain practical skills that will be valuable for your certification exam and future career endeavors.

Here are some recommended resources to get you started:

Secure a quiet spot on the day of the certification exam

On the day of your certification exam, ensure that you have a quiet and distraction-free environment to take the test. Find a comfortable space where you can focus without interruptions, and eliminate any potential sources of noise or distraction.

Take some time to relax and mentally prepare yourself before starting the exam, and approach each question with confidence and clarity.

Why A Role-Based Certification May Be Better

While mastering specific tools like AWS is invaluable, it's also important to consider the broader scope of your career. Role-based certifications, which focus on the skills and knowledge needed for specific job roles, can sometimes offer more comprehensive benefits than tool-specific certifications. Let's explore the value of both types of certifications.

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The value of tool-based certifications

Tool-based certifications, such as those offered by AWS, validate your proficiency in using a particular cloud service or tool. They are particularly beneficial in fields where expertise in a specific tool is highly valued or required. For instance, an AWS certification can significantly enhance your resume if you're applying for positions that specifically require AWS cloud skills.

The value of role-based certifications

Role-based certifications assess your ability to perform specific job functions and solve real-world problems, often requiring knowledge of multiple tools and methodologies. They are designed to demonstrate not only your technical skills but also your ability to apply those skills in practical scenarios. Such certifications can provide a more holistic view of your capabilities to potential employers.

An Overview of DataCamp Certifications

Data Scientist (Associate & Professional)

  • What is it: Role-based certification focused on end-to-end data science skills.
  • Skills tested: Exploratory analysis, data management, model development, statistical experimentation, data science programming, communication, using Python or R alongside SQL.
  • Prerequisites: Advanced use of SQL, familiarity with relational databases, and comfort using Python or R for data science tasks.
  • Who is it for: Individuals seeking to demonstrate their data science knowledge and skills, aiming for in-demand data science roles.
  • Cost: Included in DataCamp's Premium Subscription, starting from $12.42 per month.
  • Exam format: Timed exams covering various aspects of data science, including practical exams where candidates analyze datasets and present conclusions
  • Registration: Get started here

Data Analyst (Associate & Professional)

  • What is it: Role-based certification focused on data analysis and making data-driven decisions.
  • Skills tested: Data management, exploratory analysis, analytics fundamentals, data communication, coding for production, statistical experimentation.
  • Prerequisites: Familiarity with relational databases and SQL, proficiency in Python or R for data tasks.
  • Who is it for: Those aiming to prove their data analysis skills and qualify for in-demand data jobs.
  • Cost: Included in DataCamp's Premium Subscription, starting from $12.42 per month.
  • Exam format: Timed online tasks covering a range of data analysis skills, using Python or R and SQL.
  • Registration: Get started here

Data Engineer (Associate)

  • What is it: Role-based certification focused on data engineering, including building and maintaining data pipelines.
  • Skills tested: Data management and exploratory analysis using SQL, programming for data engineering using Python, including practical tasks like data extraction, cleaning, and quality assessment.
  • Prerequisites: Advanced SQL knowledge, familiarity with relational databases, and programming in Python for data engineering tasks.
  • Who is it for: Those aiming to start their career in data engineering, providing proof of their skills to prospective employers.
  • Cost: Included in DataCamp's Premium Subscription, starting from $12.42 per month.
  • Exam format: Two timed exams covering SQL and Python programming, plus a practical exam simulating real-world data engineering tasks.
  • Registration: Get started here

SQL Certification

  • What is it: Tool-based certification focused on SQL, foundational for data manipulation and querying.
  • Skills tested: Calculation of metrics for reporting using PostgreSQL, data quality assessment, validation tasks, data extraction, joining, and aggregation.
  • Prerequisites: None specified, but knowledge of SQL would be beneficial.
  • Who is it for: Individuals aiming to demonstrate analytical and technical skills in SQL to potential employers.
  • Cost: Included in DataCamp's Premium Subscription, starting from $12.42 per month.
  • Exam format: One timed exam (2 hours, 2 attempts) and one practical exam (4 hours, auto-graded).
  • Registration: Get started here

Final Thoughts

AWS certifications are a powerful way to showcase your expertise with leading cloud services, essential for anyone looking to excel in cloud computing roles. Mastering AWS can set you apart in the job market, giving you the skills to design, deploy, and manage scalable and reliable cloud solutions.

While specializing in AWS is undoubtedly beneficial, exploring role-based certifications can also enhance your career. These certifications expand your expertise beyond a single tool, preparing you for a variety of challenges in cloud architecture, development, and operations roles. Balancing your AWS knowledge with a broader understanding of cloud computing through role-based certifications can make you a more versatile and valuable professional in this dynamic field.

Keep learning with our helpful resources:


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Author
Adel Nehme

Adel is a Data Science educator, speaker, and Evangelist at DataCamp where he has released various courses and live training on data analysis, machine learning, and data engineering. He is passionate about spreading data skills and data literacy throughout organizations and the intersection of technology and society. He has an MSc in Data Science and Business Analytics. In his free time, you can find him hanging out with his cat Louis.

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